What is physical therapy?
Physical therapy is a branch of rehabilitative health that uses specially designed exercises and equipment to help patients regain or improve physical abilities. Therapy is designed to help the body find relief from pain and heal from injury without the use of drugs or surgery. Some common procedures used during therapy include:
- Pressure-Point Release
In this procedure the therapist or clinical assistant searches for muscles that are actively in spasm or causing pain. They then push on the muscle for 1-2 minutes. Initially this will cause soreness but should diminish steadily. This helps to normalize the muscles and improve circulation in that area.
- Soft Tissue Mobilization
This procedure uses the application of movement and force to muscles, ligaments, nerves, or other soft tissue for the purpose of promoting healing and normalization. Soft tissue mobilization can be used to reduce pain. Sometimes discomfort may accompany the procedure.
- Joint Mobilization
This procedure uses the application of movement and force to a joint for the purpose of increasing motion and range. It can be used to reduce pain. Sometimes discomfort may accompany the procedure.
- Kinetic Activity
- Therapeutic Exercises
Therapists use therapeutic exercise to work on strengthening and balancing the muscles around your joints. This is essential for good movement, stability, and pain relief. Physical therapists are the leading experts in helping those with pain, arthritis, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease get fit and strong safely.
There are many specialties within the physical therapy profession. Including, but not limited to, the following:
- Sports Medicine
- Women’s Health
- Industrial/Work Hardening
- Ergonomics & Injury Prevention
- Strength & Conditioning
- Oncology Rehab
- Certified Hand Therapy
- Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Rehab
Even though there are many specialties and settings within the realm of physical therapy, most therapists are trained to accelerate the body’s own healing process, hasten recovery, promote better movement, and foster return to activities that promote quality of life. There are no side-effects, drugs, or invasive procedures involved with physical therapy. It is typically the first and best option for most muscle/joint/nerve/tendon problems. When a patient needs surgery, therapy can shorten the recovery time and help improve the outcome of the surgery.
If you have any questions, ask you physical therapist today!